Skip to comments.Unsafe At Any Grade
Posted on 12/04/2002 9:34:06 PM PST by CalConservative
Unsafe at Any Grade
Homosexual activists are exploiting their agenda through "safe school" laws across the nation - and California is their latest laboratory.
By Candi Cushman
Its 1 oclock in the morning and 27-year-old Lybe Crumpton is standing alone, shaking and on the verge of tears. No, she hasnt been robbed. Shes a fifth-grade teacher whos afraid her students might be harmed by the homosexual agenda.
A petite brunette with large brown eyes, she has just watched her school board approve the idea that classrooms like hers play a video called Thats A Family!, featuring 9- and 10-year-old children lauding the benefits of living with two moms or two dads.
My dads are gay, and gay means . . . two men or two women love each other, says one smiling girl in the video. Its sort of like having a mom and a dad love each other, just that it is a man and a man.
But thats not the worst of it. The video which also portrays children of divorced, single and even jailed parents comes with a teachers handbook including a crossword puzzle for elementary kids using words like transgender and discussion questions such as, What did you learn from this video about families with gay parents? What else would you like to know?
It was five hours ago that Crumpton slipped unnoticed into the back of the Novato, Calif., school board meeting and heard gay-rights activists warning the board it had better allow tolerance lessons like this video or risk lawsuits.
That upsets Crumpton because she doesnt think elementary-school kids are ready to discuss sexual lifestyles, especially one as physically and spiritually devastating as homosexuality.
Theyre not worried about who is sleeping with whom, she says. They worry about whos the best at soccer.
But after pro-gay activists and parents faced off over the video into the pre-dawn hours, the board voted to test the film in fifth-grade classes and consider introducing it to more grades next year.
They are just opening a Pandoras box, Crumpton told Citizen moments after the vote.
Whats happening in Novato, an affluent Bay-area suburb in Northern California, has become increasingly common across the nation as homosexual activists use safe school laws and concerns over school bullying to advance their agenda.
It works like this: First, homosexual activists tout hate crimes those sad but rare incidents in which students are harmed because they are gay and then they push for laws protecting homosexual students. Once those laws pass, activists persuade schools to adopt curricula that promotes not just student safety, but acceptance of homosexuality.
Making schools safe . . . is strongly tied to ensuring that classrooms are inclusive of LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender] themes, said the Web site for one of the nations largest homosexual lobby groups the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN).
GLSENs executive director, Kevin Jennings, made no secret of that strategy while extolling homosexual activists inroads into Massachusetts schools a few years ago.
We immediately seized upon the opponents calling card safety, he said. We knew that, confronted with real-life stories of youth who had suffered from homophobia, our opponents would automatically be on the defensive. . . . This allowed us to set the terms of the debate.
So far the tactic is working; at least eight states have passed safe school laws to protect gay and lesbian students, and five more (including Florida and New York) are considering similar legislation.
But its California schools that have taken the lead.
Over the last two years, legislators in Sacramento have cranked out laws requiring curriculum to reflect appreciation of different sexual lifestyles and adding sexual orientation to school discrimination policies.
Those laws leave schools that resist homosexual pressure vulnerable to lawsuits, explained Jeff McAlpin, a Novato school board member who voted against pro-homosexual curriculum.
The state of California has put us in a very difficult position, he said. We dont have a choice in terms of providing protection [for homosexual rights], so then the question becomes how far do we go?
It puts you at some level of risk if they can prove you didnt have a safe environment. And that risk has cast the door wide open to homosexual activists wielding the threat of lawsuits.
The Gay-Straight Alliance Network (GSA), for instance a group that openly pushes for the normalization of homosexuality through student clubs has issued a fact sheet urging activists to think of AB 537 [a California safe school law] as a tool and use it as leverage to work to change the school climate.
Apparently, members took their marching orders seriously.
After homosexual students in Visalia, Calif., complained of harassment, their district was punished with a federal court settlement under AB 537 that forced teachers to receive mandatory gay-rights training. This year, the districts ninth-grade students also will attend court-ordered classes taught by the GSA.
While the case does not directly apply to Novato, said McAlpin, It was clearly a shot across the bows of all school districts that [safe school laws] had an impact on one district . . . and other districts better be careful.
Part of the Price
If the California education system is the latest gay-rights laboratory, then the Hayward Unified School District is its most successful experiment.
Unlike Novato, with its Victorian homes and white picket fences, Hayward is an industrial town on the south side of the Bay filled with cinderblock buildings and windowless factories. But just like Novato, Christian teachers in Hayward feel forced to promote a political agenda.
Our backs are against the wall, said Matthew Freschi, a physical education teacher at Hayward High School. We feel the need to step forward. Enough is enough.
What pushed Freschi into action was the 2-4-6-8 Are you sure youre really straight? sign he discovered on his gymnasium door, as well as the staff meeting he attended at which teachers were encouraged to assign students library books about homosexuals. Both incidents were billed as the schools effort to foster safety for gay and lesbian students.
I agree that no student should be abused or battered for any reason, Freschi said, but to me thats not protecting anybody; thats promoting something.
Indeed, Hayward is the perfect case study of how safe school laws create special privileges for some and oppression for others.
Just ask Monica Manriquez, a Spanish teacher who had her pay docked last year for refusing to attend a seminar endorsing homosexuality.
When Hayward school officials ordered teachers to attend sensitivity training on April 8, Manriquez and three colleagues at Tennyson High School requested permission to opt out.
We didnt want to sit and be indoctrinated for four hours, said Manriquez, whod already suffered through previous sensitivity sessions. I have no problem with being sensitive, but what they mean by that is that we have to be pro-gay in our classrooms.
After the principal denied their request, the teachers sought help from the Pacific Justice Institute, a Sacramento-based Christian legal organization, which argued that civil-rights laws protect religious freedom in the workplace.
But school officials claimed safe school laws trumped those rights, in a letter stating that the District has an obligation to ensure that its employees are properly trained in applicable law. A few days later, the teachers received notice their pay would be docked for missing half a day.
These teachers offered to work [in their classroom], so the issue was not their willingness to work, said Brad Dacus, chief counsel for the institute. The issue was the intolerance of the school district . . . that would force teachers to compromise their convictions as Christians.
That wasnt the end of their troubles. Dubbed The Tennyson Four by media, the teachers were derided in local newspapers and ostracized at work. These four teachers are out of touch with the standards of our community, wrote the Hayward Daily Review in an editorial. Its possible that some public school students in Hayward are being assigned to a teacher who hates them. . . . Their human rights should outweigh teachers religious rights.
Nobody would talk to us for a while, added Manriquez. But thats part of the price.
As the Hayward school district quietly trampled on religious freedom, it drew national attention for a resolution granting homosexual teachers the right to declare their homosexuality without fear of reprisal and bring up homosexual relationships in class without parental consent.
Once again waiving the safe school banner, the April 10 resolution asserted that a crisis exists in Hayward and called for ongoing sensitivity training and curriculum that provides positive images of GLBT [gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender] people in the classroom.
In a newspaper interview, Tennyson drama teacher Kelsey Hartman expressed relief that she could now talk about her lesbianism and have students read a play featuring two women falling in love without fear of punishment: Now I know we have support, she said. If Im ashamed, it shows the students theres something wrong with it.
But Christian teachers dont have the same protection. At previous sensitivity seminars, Manriquez said she was told our religion is not to be brought up. We are to talk about our culture, but not our religion.
Courage Under Fire
Another Christian teacher who did attend the April 8 training, Cynthia Huggett, says Manriquez was right to stay away.
When Huggett arrived, the first thing she saw was a display of newspaper articles about The Tennyson Four. There was a lot of negativity toward them, Huggett remembered. I heard comments . . . like they couldnt understand why those teachers couldnt be here. . . . Whats their problem?
I was kind of wondering myself, well, why are these four people refusing to go?
She soon found out. During sessions led by educators from area schools, religion was constantly ridiculed, said Huggett. In a seminar video called Teaching Respect, for instance, a presenter matter-of-factly listed people homosexual students could go to for help, including parents and teachers, but when he got to the word pastor, he stopped.
He paused, and he looked at the audience to get a laugh out of it like, Right . . . Christians hate gays. . . . If anything it would be somebody that they would not trust. That was the gist of it, said Huggett, a Tennyson math teacher. She recalled her shock when other teachers laughed:
I was thinking, Why are they laughing? Here this was called sensitivity awareness. . . . It reminded me of Polish jokes, Jewish jokes. First you start with joking, you break the ice by saying we can make fun of these people now.
According to Huggett and others interviewed by Citizen, the video also claimed that biblical references about Jesus sitting at the right hand of God were used to discriminate against left-handed people.
They used Scripture to point out the fact that . . . Christians have a history from the beginning of bashing homosexuality and people who are different because God said so, said Huggett. I thought, How dare you say I cant stand up and talk to my kids about what I believe and bring out the Bible, but you can go ahead for your purposes and actually misquote [the Bible]?
By the time the lunch break rolled around, Huggett was too distraught to stay, so she sought comfort at home in a daily devotional book. To her surprise, Hebrews 12:2, a verse that describes Jesus sitting at the right hand of God, was referenced on that days page.
To come home and see it in my journal . . . it was one of those moments in my Christian walk that I felt was the closest thing to God just opening his mouth and talking to me, Huggett said. It was like, Yes Cindy, you are right. . . . You see whats going on. You see the evil in it. You understand it. And Im going to let you know by Scripture.
Emboldened, she spoke her mind a few days later at a faculty meeting.
I strongly feel that if I dont say something, this will continue and Christians will be bashed again and again, she told Citizen. And Im not going to let that happen. I will not stay here if that is going to happen. I will lose my job and wash dishes if I have to.
So what does coercing Christian teachers into attending seminars that belittle their religion have to do with teaching homosexuality to kids? The answer is simple: To advance their cause, homosexual activists must first undermine beliefs that categorize right and wrong behavior.
Weve seen the same pattern emerge over and over, said Scott Lively, who as director of the Pro-Family Law Center has tracked homosexual infiltration into Vermont, Oregon and Massachusetts school districts. The gay agenda is first pushed to teachers, then they are trained how to get it in the classroom. They are being trained that it is acceptable, even expected, to trample on the private beliefs and values of the students in their care.
Citizen obtained handouts from the Hayward sensitivity seminars over the past two years that illustrate this agenda. A What You Can Do list distributed at one of this years seminars, for instance, suggested that teachers say the words often lesbian, gay, bisexual in a positive way and identify gay, lesbian, bisexual contributors throughout the curriculum.
Another handout encouraged schools to bring in openly gay, lesbian, bisexual adults as resources in classes and assemblies and identify staff who are gay-friendly and to whom questioning students may go for advice.
Demonstrating blatant disregard for parental control, yet another page entitled If a Student Comes Out to You told teachers if trust and openness exist, sexual behavior could also be addressed.
For teachers in need of more indoctrination tools, a Resources list distributed at a 2001 seminar recommended several gay-rights curricula, including Preventing Prejudice: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Lesson Plans for Elementary Schools.
A copy of Preventing Prejudice obtained by Citizen includes a lesson plan for first- and second-graders entitled Who Loves Whom? LGBT Relationships. The plan encourages teachers to introduce the lesson on Valentines Day to broaden the definition of love that is associated with that holiday and to ask students to rewrite stories that involve heterosexual relationships, e.g., fairy tales like Cinderella, substituting LGBT relationships.
A kindergarten lesson included in the same curriculum called Jesses Dream Skirt tells a story about a little boy who is praised for wearing a dress to school.
According to Hayward district spokesperson Kim Hammond, those lesson plans, as well as books like Heather Has Two Mommies, are available to all staff in the district.
What disturbs me most, said Huggett, is that once you say this should be part of our curriculum, [teachers] will have to appear to believe that homosexuality is a normal, healthy lifestyle.
Given the pressure on teachers, the only hope for public education is parental outrage, said one East Bay-area administrator who spoke to Citizen on the condition of anonymity:
There will be no resistance [to pro-homosexual curriculum] from within the system, from the administration. There might be individual teachers who object, but the union is lock-stock in step with this. As a matter of fact, much of the leadership is controlled by these people anyway.
When his school had a gay-pride day, there wasnt a peep of protest, the administrator said. If the phones were ringing off the hooks the day after they did that . . . saying, How dare you? believe me, it would have empowered the staff to say, You know this is really taking things too far. But the great masses just seem to be, I dont know, asleep.
Signs of Hope
Back in Novato, though, there are signs parents are waking up.
When they talk about doing this to my kid behind my back, it ticks me off. It really makes my blood boil and I cant just sit back and say nothing, said 33-year-old Susan Barnes, who said shell remove her second-grader from public school if homosexual curriculum is adopted.
To prevent that from happening, Barnes and other concerned parents formed the First Educators Alliance (FEA).
Each FEA parent commits to attend at least one monthly school board meeting. Lack of presence is the reason theyve been able to get away with this stuff over all these years, said FEA representative, grandmother-of-nine Sara Lockwood.
It was at one of those board meetings that parents discovered the districts plans to test Thats A Family! in grades 4-8 and adopt it the following year. So FEA launched a letter-writing campaign and the Street Corner Ministry: Novato moms who distribute information from sidewalks about the gay agendas inroads into the classroom.
The weekend before the board voted on Thats A Family!, mother-of-three Vanessa Wills spent her Saturday in front of a grocery store. Almost every parent I talked to, she told Citizen, whether or not they agreed with the homosexual lifestyle, said the same thing: This is something that should be taught in home, not in the classroom.
Meanwhile, another group of parents joined forces to protect their quickly eroding parental rights. Calling themselves the Novato Parents and Family Coalition, they circulated a petition calling for parental control over how sexual lifestyles are addressed in the classroom and collected more than 1,200 signatures in just three weeks.
When this agenda came to town, it was moral anthrax, said one petition collector, Edison Fowler, whose wife is a first-grade teacher. I saw them giving it to kids and nobody could see it, nobody knew it existed. . . . Its that serious.
On the news you heard about people dying, and how theyd spend millions of dollars going through with gloves and sterile [equipment] to make sure nobody else got hurt. I thought, We need to be that meticulous and that caring about what they are presenting to the hearts of children. Because once it goes in, its hidden. Its undetectable, yet it continues to work.
Of the 1,200 people surveyed, said Fowler, only 7 percent knew about the upcoming curriculum vote.
But by the time the school board met on Aug. 20, grassroots groups had changed that percentage.
The meeting attracted a standing-room-only crowd of 300. And after five hours of public comments (the majority against the video), it was clear board members couldnt test the video in four grade levels without serious political consequences. So they voted instead to introduce it only in fifth-grade Family Life sex education classes, which already have an opt-out option for parents who dont want their children to attend.
Though the video will still be seen by some students, getting it acknowledged for what it is a lesson about sex, not tolerance was an important win, said Pro-Family Law Center Director Scott Lively, because the gay movement has taken a nearly universal goal among teachers and parents for students to be civil to one another and wrapped their own agenda in it.
They say that the only way students can respect each other is if they say homosexuality is good and normal.
But semantics meant little to fifth-grade teacher Lybe Crumpton, who still didnt want to teach something that contradicted her Christian beliefs. So she confronted her principal.
I waited until lunch because I had to psych myself up all morning, she told Citizen. By the time I went in, I had come to the conclusion that if I lost my job over it, that was fine.
I said that I couldnt in good faith or good conscience teach that curriculum to children.
For now, the principal has agreed to let her opt out since it is a pilot program, said Crumpton. But if it becomes core curriculum, therell be no choice for Crumpton. There will be a choice for Christian parents, though to continue fighting for truly safe schools free of homosexual indoctrination.
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